Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Zookeeper's Wife

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The Zookeeper's Wife

A War Story

by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper's Wife
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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Beyond the Book

Janusz Korczak

Tucked into The Zookeeper's Wife is the equally myth-like story of Janusz Korczak (photo). A friend of the Zabinksis', Korczak was a Polish writer and pediatrician who founded a progressive orphanage for boys and girls in Warsaw in 1912. He had a popular radio show, enjoyed by both children and adults, and his children's book, King Matt the First, is known as well in Poland as Alice and Wonderland or Peter Pan is in the States. Korczak insisted on the importance of respecting and listening to children, believing that parents, caregivers, and instructors could do best by learning from them. He insisted that the role of the parent was not to impose a set of behaviors or expectations on a child, but rather that the child should be given a respectful, safe, loving place to thrive and work at her own pace towards her own goals. Korczak's orphanage was complete with its own child-run parliament, newspaper and a court system that encouraged the ...

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